I have a theory about food, a sort of philosophy I eat by I suppose. It’s a two-pronged topic which often crops up in conversation with foodie friends.
The first part governs the fact that it seems to only takes a single instance of enjoying a food you don’t like to start to love it. I usually order something new or something I might not be a fan of in very good restaurants, as more often than not it will have been given the sort of treatment to turn it into something spectacular.
And there’s nothing quite like the pleasure of learning to love a foodstuff that people around you have been blathering on about for ages. The gears fall into place and suddenly you understand what they mean.
The second relates to the quality of ingredients. This makes all the difference, which is why good restaurants source their ingredients well.
Take for example, the humble anchovy – prized in Ancient Rome where it was fermented and turned into <i>liquamen</i>, a fishy seasoning like that used in Thai cooking.
Anchovies and I had never been friends. I found their intense fishiness overpowering. It wasn’t for want of trying. I’d used them to season lamb, adding oomph by stuffing fillets inside slits in the meat along with rosemary and garlic.
Then, along came a marginally pricier version, and I was sold. The quality Spanish import was richer, saltier and meatier than anything I’d tasted before and now I am a happy convert.
It’s not about spending a lot more money, but rather buying less of a better thing. So if you’ve got your own foodie phobias, as I have with offal, too, take a chance, buy a smaller amount of really good quality and see what a difference it makes.